si stillava il cervello

cialuzzo

Senior Member
english
Salve

"Si stillava il cervello".

La sentensa viene dopo Erminia aver ripensata negli eventi della sua sfacelo nervoso.

It seems to translate into: Her brain oozed. Does that sound correct?

Vi ringrazio in anticipo.

Ciao, Cialuzzo
 
  • HM_f

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Cialuzzo, la tua interpretazione del termine non mi sembra corretta in questo caso, visto che il termine che cerchi di tradurre non è stillare ma stillarsi (si stillava). Se vai nella sezione del dizionario di italiano è indicato che "stillarsi il cervello" è un altro modo per dire "scervellarsi":

    http://www.wordreference.com/definizione/stillare

    Non ho idea di che contesto sia, visto che non lo hai fornito, comunque per tradurre scervellarsi basta che vai alla voce:

    http://www.wordreference.com/iten/scervellarsi

    Edit: scusa Mary49, non mi era ancora comparso il tuo intervento. :)
     

    cialuzzo

    Senior Member
    english
    Hi cialuzzo,
    "stillarsi il cervello" means "to rack one's brain" or "to puzzle one's brain".
    Ciao tutti

    Nonostante el poco contesto che vi l'avevo dato i responsi da voi e HM_F come "rack your brain" or "puzzli your brain" mi sembra troppa leggera per quella donna che sta per guarisce da un sfacelo nervoso. Percio, percaso puo tradurre in "she was mentally exausted". Che pensate?

    Vi ringrazio l'indulgenza. Ciao, Cialuzzo
     

    AlabamaBoy

    Senior Member
    American English
    You need an infinitive after "she racked her brain" as in "she racked her brain to come up with an answer."
    If she puzzled, it must be over something.

    Without a task to be completed, I think "her brain turned to mush" is better. Is there any more to the sentence? I don't think you can just say "she racked her brain" period. Nor can you say "she puzzled" period.
     

    cialuzzo

    Senior Member
    english
    You need an infinitive after "she racked her brain" as in "she racked her brain to come up with an answer."
    If she puzzled, it must be over something.

    Without a task to be completed, I think "her brain turned to mush" is better. Is there any more to the sentence? I don't think you can just say "she racked her brain" period. Nor can you say "she puzzled" period.
    Dear Al

    I hope you don't mind my calling you Al. I am almost completly sure that "She racked her brain" is a grammaticly correct sentence which does not need to specify what she racked her brain about, although it would be nice if that information was included. You could say: She racked her brain. She knew she had seen him somewhere before. However I do not think you can say "She puzzled her brain". At Least not in english. However you can say lots of things in italian, you just have to find the right english form for translation. And although "Her brain turned to mush may be a perfectly acceptable translation it is inconsistant with the gravity of the the woman's condition. "Her brain turned to mush can only be taken figurtively and as such is too light hearted.

    Grazie, and Ciao, Cialuzzo
     

    Mary49

    Senior Member
    Italian
    cialuzzo,
    it would be good if you let us know what the context is. Is it a novel? What "si stillava il cervello" for? Can you give the sentences before and after that one? What do you mean by "sfacelo nervoso"?
     

    cialuzzo

    Senior Member
    english
    cialuzzo,
    it would be good if you let us know what the context is. Is it a novel? What "si stillava il cervello" for? Can you give the sentences before and after that one? What do you mean by "sfacelo nervoso"?
    Salve Mary49

    Thank you for your help. It is from a novel by Luigi Capuana called Profumo. The following is a few of the sentences before and after the phrase. Although I don't think the sentences preceeding the phrase is very helpful, the ones following it seem to be more discriptive of her state of mind. Comunque: "Notava i sordi rumori che le assalivano gli orecchi, ora come lontano scroscio di acque correnti, ora come leggero fischio, ora come tintinnio. Aveva già notato più volte una rigidezza nell'estremita della lingua, che ricompariva specialmente qualche giorno prima che l'odor di zagara diventasse più intenso. L'acutezza di esso variava, senza ragione comprensibile anche nella medesima giornata, a periodi diversi, a sbalzi, con nessuna corrispondenza di intervalli. L'aumento dell'emissione le apportava uno stato di eccitamento ilare, simile a quello che le dava il caffe, se ella eccedeva nella dose.
    Si stilliva il cervello.
    Non le pareva d'essere sempre sul punto di cadere in un accesso nervoso come giorni fa? Si sentiva portar via, via, via, verso un ignoto abisso; Il terrore del prossimo sfacelo le dava il capogiro, le faceva correre un brivido diaccio da capo a piedi; e, a un tratto ecco una mano che l'arrestava proprio sull'orlo e le impediva di precipitare".
    Thank you for taking the time I hope this helps.
    I thought that sfacelo nervoso ment nervous collapse. At least that is what Google traduttore gave me.

    Ciao, e grazie, Cialuzzo
     

    Mary49

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Ciao cialuzzo,
    having read part of the text I'm still of the same opinion: "Si stillava il cervello" means that she was racking her brain, trying to identify her problems. The sentence following the one you are asking says "Non le pareva d'essere sempre sul punto di cadere in un accesso nervoso come giorni fa?". And some lines before: "E notava tutto, piena di sospetti vaghi".I think she was puzzled asking herself about her own symptoms.
     

    Mary49

    Senior Member
    Italian
    She doesn't know what is happening to her (Era dunque proprio malata e intanto non se ne accorgeva?) and she's puzzled (...E mi tempesta di domande. Perché? È dunque sintomo cattivo? Perciò, forse, non me ne vogliono dir niente. Mi trattano da bambina." E notava tutto, piena di sospetti vaghi.).
     

    AlabamaBoy

    Senior Member
    American English
    Allora:
    Her head spun.
    She was puzzled.

    In my experience you wouldn't say "She racked her brain" here unless you explicitly said "She racked her brain to understand what was happening."
     

    Mary49

    Senior Member
    Italian
    All right, I'm not an English speaker so I "bow" to you; anyway, Italian is sometimes simpler :), we can say "Si scervellava" or "Si lambiccava il cervello" without specifying why or on what someone is "racking his/her brain".
     

    AlabamaBoy

    Senior Member
    American English
    It is possible to say "she racked her brain" but it would leave the reader a little confused. The reader would have to supply the reason. It is certainly possible to leave out why she did it, but it would not be a very good translation (in my opinion). I think that "She racked her brain to understand what was happening to her." works pretty well because it emphasizes how difficult the situation was for her. Don't bow to a native speaker: they are not always correct. ;) Besides, there are a lot of variations of English, and few persons, if any, know them all. So, my opinion could be just based on my particular brand of English.
     

    CPA

    Senior Member
    British English/Italian - bilingual
    Another option: She thought hard. Did she not seem to be constantly on the point of...
     

    cialuzzo

    Senior Member
    english
    All right, I'm not an English speaker so I "bow" to you; anyway, Italian is sometimes simpler :), we can say "Si scervellava" or "Si lambiccava il cervello" without specifying why or on what someone is "racking his/her brain".
    Cara Mary49

    I hesitate to say that Alabamaboy is incorrect but "she racked her brain" without a qualifing explanation is not only grammatically correct but not uncommon, at least in my experience. Usually there is some contextual information indicating what the person is racking their brain about. Comunque, è argumento aparte, ma del argumento principale diffferisco a madrelingua.
    However at the risk of being importunate, what is the meaning of "accesso nervoso", as it is being used here.
    My reluctance to accepting "racked her brain" as an appropreate translation is because in english, at least american english, it is too lighthearted and would never be used as a discriptive phrase in expressing the mental state of someone in such emotional termoil. However I recognize that that may not be the case for italian.
    Comunque, sono molto grato di tutto il aiuto che me a dato.

    Ciao, Cialuzzo
     
    Hi Cialuzzo,
    si stillava il cervello is very rare in Italian, out of literary style. Much more common is si lambiccava il cervello as Mary said, and I assume that it has the same meaning, though I've never seen that expression in practice. If so, it means she was thinking very hard and the most close expression I can think of in English, with the same strenght is she was squeezing her brain juice, or simply, a bit milder, she was squeezing her brain.

    The direct translation in English would be she was distilling her brain which is obviousluy non-existent, unless some Frankenstein b-movie :)
     

    CPA

    Senior Member
    British English/Italian - bilingual
    However at the risk of being importunate, what is the meaning of "accesso nervoso", as it is being used here.
    I would say it means a "nervous fit", if such a term is appropriate for a novel written in 1880. Nowadays we might call it a panic attack or an anxiety attack.
     

    curiosone

    Senior Member
    AE - hillbilly ;)
    How about a more creative approach to translation, in order to convey the concept/situation (avoiding standard idiomatic phrases)?

    "Her brain started fibrillating."
    "Her brain was working overtime."
    "Her brain was close to short-circuiting."
    (I prefer "Her brain was turning to mush" to AB's "Her brain had turned to mush").

    If it were a cartoon, I'd visualize her brain "going up in smoke." ;) [in Italian I've heard "le si fumava il cervello"]

    I don't like "racking her brain" in this context (and tend to agree with AB that it works better with a specification of what she was racking her brain about).
     

    cialuzzo

    Senior Member
    english
    Hi Cialuzzo,
    si stillava il cervello is very rare in Italian, out of literary style. Much more common is si lambiccava il cervello as Mary said, and I assume that it has the same meaning, though I've never seen that expression in practice. If so, it means she was thinking very hard and the most close expression I can think of in English, with the same strenght is she was squeezing her brain juice, or simply, a bit milder, she was squeezing her brain.

    The direct translation in English would be she was distilling her brain which is obviousluy non-existent, unless some Frankenstein b-movie :)
    Salve Chip

    Thank you for the suggestions. I never realized that British english was so different from American english. Squeezing her brain juice or just squeezing her brain would never be said in American english, however the image has, I think, more merit then "she racked her brain". In any case, whatever phrase is appropriate it would have to be expressed in the passive, as is the italian phrase "si stillava il cervello". An American equivalent to yours suggestion might be: She felt her mind was in a vise.

    Thank you for your help, Cialuzzo
     
    Salve Chip

    Thank you for the suggestions. I never realized that British english was so different from American english. Squeezing her brain juice or just squeezing her brain would never be said in American english, however the image has, I think, more merit then "she racked her brain". In any case, whatever phrase is appropriate it would have to be expressed in the passive, as is the italian phrase "si stillava il cervello". An American equivalent to yours suggestion might be: She felt her mind was in a vise.

    Thank you for your help, Cialuzzo
    Hi Cialuzzo, please do not consider me as a reliable source for British English! I've only beem living part time in England since 2009 and I'm certainly no authority... I did hear in some occasion squeezing one's brain juice but I can't tell the source nor its reliability :eek: It is just that the image got stuck in my mind...
     
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